The Real Internet of Things: Details and Examples


These are published chapters from my book The real Internet of Things, published on January 1st, 2017.

Each of the chapters you’ve read so far have introduced a single concept per section. I did this to make the concept crisp and simple, which isn’t possible if you start talking about how it might be implemented.

In this section I give a few additional ideas and likely/possible applications for each.

Universal Daemonization

  • Most objects will have an /info endpoint in their daemon that allows other objects to understand its basic attributes. This might be where the schema is stored, i.e., all the different endpoints that are available (that can be seen by the current viewer), etc.

  • Restaurants will have /menu and /order and /payment endpoints. Buildings will have /safety, /blueprints, and hundreds of other /infrastructure endpoints, and these will become quite standardized over time. The same will apply to millions of obvious entries for certain objects. Books will have info on the author, the length, where they were written and when, what tools were used, the list of references, and countless other pieces of information that you’d expect to see. The key is that these will become standardized for the basic info types for each object based on the object type, even though they may have many custom endpoints as well.

  • Consumables and construction materials will have, as part of their daemons, a series of elements related to lifespan, integrity, etc. These values are updated through numerous means: time in use, official inspections, etc. So a city can simply look at 10 city blocks and instantly evaluate what structures are most in need of upgrades. And consumers’ DAs can read a principal’s entire list of things they own, and order/recommend replacements based on it being time. Car tires, bike tires, the roof on the house, toothpaste, polo shirts, chicken soup, diapers, etc. The key point here is not just that someone (like the manufacturer) knows these things and can nag you—it’s that the object itself will know, and that your DA can manage replacement according to a combination of requirements and your preferences.

  • The more up-to-date an object’s information the better, so the informational endpoints will have update/validate options available for external clients that aren’t able to make changes to the daemon itself. For example, if a mobile business is marked as being at a certain street corner, but it moves without updating itself for whatever reason, it will be able to accept update requests from people who see that it’s moved in the last minute. This will depend on the authority, reputation, trustworthiness, and how many votes come in that agree. Entire economies will likely rise on paying micro-payments for providing high-quality validation of reality. The status of businesses, the location of common objects, ratings of service, etc. People could possibly make a living by simply observing and reporting in a responsible and valuable way, with updates being pushed right into the objects’ daemons themselves. – Even basic information about an object will have their own ratings based on a number of these factors—how often they’re updated (per day, per minute, per second, etc.). How many external validations have been made with what authority, etc.

  • Daemonization won’t be just for physical objects like vehicles and buildings and people. They will also be used for (and useful to) conceptual and virtual objects such as applications, systems, etc. Think of the use case of an IT asset database, where all applications, servers, operating systems, tests, builds, vulnerabilities, etc—all have their own daemons and their own realtime status. This makes queries and updates simple and elegant—exactly as they should be. When you run a security scan and find vulnerabilities, they each have their own daemon with their own schema, and they’re attached to an application that has its own, which sits on top of an operating system, which sits on a piece of hardware, etc. So finding out what version of software sits on what OS, what data is being used where, how that data is changing, where it’s moving—these all become daemon status updates.

Realtime Data

  • One of the biggest advantages of realtime data will be serving as a constant stream into scientific studies. So rather than data analysis taking days, weeks, months, or years, we’ll be able to pull that data ever day, every hour, every minute, or multiple times per second, constantly, and at scale.

  • Realtime data also allows us to more quickly study the effect of variables in these scientific studies. If we’re able to track mood in realtime, for an entire city, then we’re more likely to be able to say that a particular variable was the cause of change in that mood.

  • Realtime data will also be able to speak to, at a more granular level, the difference between causation and correlation.

  • Ultimately realtime data is the most important component in the information infrastructure and Desired Outcome Management concepts, since it’s the data that’s feeding the algorithms and output.

  • People or systems can simply ask questions about the state of the world and get answers, e.g., how many dolphins are there within one mile? is this area more star trek or star wars? How many airplanes are there over my head, which country’s currency has lost the most value in the last hour, how many single people who prefer cats to dogs are within a 10 minute drive, what’s the most popular fast food in this area? These types of queries will obviously require the other pieces of the information infrastructure as well (data transfer, algorithms, etc.), but the data is the most important piece.

Digital Assistants

  • DAs will basically run our lives, from wakeup time (based on your sleep cycles and the latest research), to which method works best (raising the lights and playing certain music), to starting your favorite food and beverage, preparing to read/display your preferred news sources, etc.

  • Your household, work environment, and any other place you spend time in will be run by your DA as the custodian of your life ecosystem (you’re the owner). When you buy new equipment it will of course be daemonized, and the enrollment process will involve it being added to your digital ecosystem. That means it’ll be automatically hardened and access controlled based on your ecosystem. So if friends and family can do certain things with certain kinds of devices, but not with others, those settings will automatically apply to this system as well.

  • Instead of household items like food and dish soap and paper towels ordering replacements for themselves, i.e. talking directly to businesses, every household item will register with the head-of-household’s DA, and the DA will manage the household based on its knowledge of preferences, calendars, etc.

  • Your DA will notify you in certain ways, which will over time produce Pavlovian responses, when certain situations arise. You’ll hear a sound when a single person of the opposite sex nears you while you’re not working, but only if they pass a few filters that are important to you.

  • You might let your DA use a number of commercial algorithms to find matches for you that you wouldn’t have thought to explore yourself. So you may put yourself in Cupid mode, or Spontaneity mode, where two DAs create pre-filtered but semi-chance meetings between two principals.

Tireless Advocate

  • If someone mentions to you casually about a particular sport, your DA (knowing you like to immerse yourself in new hobbies) will find the nearest training locations, the best local trainers, the best and nearest places to play, and some top tips for getting into shape. So when you inevitably ask about it in the next day or so, your DA will have an entire plan sorted out for you.

  • Any research topic you express interest in, or ask your DA to look into, will get a full parsing and summary treatment, ultimately resulting in a summary (which probably comes from its own commercial API) that gives you exactly how much information you wanted on that topic.

  • Summaries will have depth levels, so you’ll be able to say things like, “less depth”, or, “more depth” as desired, but that’ll only be when it doesn’t get it right in the first place.

  • DAs will scour the world looking for negative information about you, news that could negatively affect you, etc., and will bring it to your attention if it finds something.

Augmented Reality

  • When speaking to someone either in person or remotely, you will see indicators in your field of vision telling you how truthful they’re being. This will be from voice analysis, facial expressions (if it’s a visual call), etc. The visual indicators might be a Pinocchio nose, a red outline around them or your field of view, or it may be a non-visual indicator, like a subtle hissing or vibration.

  • As you’re talking to people you’ll have metadata about them displayed, such as humor scores, attractiveness ratings, favorite foods, favorite books, and interesting connections to you like mutual connections, that they attended the same college, etc.

  • Single people in public places will automatically see potential matches in different ways, e.g., displaying a cupid over their heads, showing them in color while everyone else is grayed out, etc.

  • The context that you’re currently in will be explicitly set by you or automatically set by your DA. If you haven’t eaten and your stomach rumbles your DA might switch you into “food finding mode”, which displays restaurants near you in particular ways based on what you’ve eaten recently, your favorite type of food, which places have the best ratings, etc.

  • Kind people will be able to turn on the Gloomy filter and see a gray and raining cloud over the heads of people who need cheering up.

  • You’ll be able to see live crime statistics for the area you’re currently in whenever it’s after a certain hour and you’re in an unfamiliar place.

  • Companies will specialize in providing artfully subtle yet powerful AR indicators for various contexts, e.g., hungry, lustful, angry, skeptical, curious, tired, frightened, sad, depressed, euphoric. Each of these will have different displays in your visual field, ambient and directional sounds, subtle vibrations in parts of your body, smells, etc.

  • Becoming frightened in a strange area could outline everyone in green or red to indicate who to avoid or seek help from based on facial imagery, gait analysis, body language, etc.—all of which is being streamed in realtime to a series of business daemons that specialize in this type of analysis and UI/UX display.

  • When people are sad or angry, your DA will stream the situation and the context to a company/algorithm which will display the perfect thing to say to solve the problem. It could be a de-escalation phrase, or a phrase that takes responsibility, or shows empathy, or whatever that situation needs.

Identity and Authentication

  • As you move throughout the environment, whether at home or overseas, doors will open or not open based on who you are and what level of authority you have according to that resource. If you’re a police officer in the United States, for example, and you are in Munich, you might be granted access to POV access to a certain street camera, while your friend who is not in law enforcement will not.

  • When you purchase (or lease) a new object, such as furniture or technology, you’ll simply enroll it through your DA into your ecosystem. All of your preferences will be automatically applied to it, including how it’s locked down, who can access it, under what circumstances, etc.

  • When you sign up for new services and experiences, your DA will transparently convey both your authentication validation (which will be signed by your Identity Verification Service) and all your preferences.

Reputation as Infrastructure

  • You ask your DA where to go for a weekend trip, and it calculates all the variables based on the best experience, price, and ratings by people in your network who have gone there. Your DA recommends the winner and then uses a separate daemon/business/API to build the travel plan and add it to the calendar

  • There will be algorithms/companies that do nothing but find special combinations of high ratings in random things. Like making people laugh, combined with being able to bake, combined with cosmology knowledge, and will use this cocktail to recommend relationships or problem-solving connections for people.

  • People rated extremely high in altruism and selflessness in terms of actually giving time and resources will be able to soak up micropayments from those around them. I may have a small amount of money that I transparently give to those like that around me, for example, and they might be able to just go through life giving of themselves without worry of where to eat or sleep. It’s an extreme case but it will be possible, especially with local businesses helping with free goods.

  • People will be more likely to treat others well since they won’t want their selfishness ratings to rise too high, which could lead to paying higher prices for things, not getting access to certain places, or people choosing not to interact with them.

Continuous Customization

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  • Walking into a sports bar could see the content on the displays change, the music over the speakers change, etc. You could get one waiter vs. another, be asked about your day or not, have the temperature in the place raised or lowered, etc.

  • If you work at a physical location, your settings will instantly transfer, including your desk height and angle, your chair settings, the lighting in your cube, your communication settings, how often you are to be interrupted, etc.

  • When you visit a hotel your DA will have everything configured for you according to the maximum capabilities of the property. This will include bed style, products in the bathroom, what’s playing on the display, the temperature in the room, etc. These are not things that you ask for—they’re all things that your DA knows best about you, and it simply transfers that to the property as a customization package request.

  • As you move from place to place (say hotels or airplanes) your context will transfer with you through your DA. If you’re halfway through watching a show on a plane when you land, your DA will ask if you want to pick it up where you left off when you get in bed at the hotel.

  • Anything that’s customizable that you visit will be adjusted by your DA in this way. Walk into a new home dealership and you’ll hear your favorite music, or an ideal experience for that environment, you’ll get your favorite drink, and someone will interact with you in a way you’ll enjoy.

  • Customization will include spontaneity, since your previous likes will inevitably get old. Part of your DA’s job, as well as the job of various experiences, will be to delight you with new music, new lighting, new interactions, etc. This will be handled through thousands of competing businesses/algorithms/daemons.

  • At certain really important times in your life, like when you’re out riding bikes with a childhood friend in your hometown, you might both hear a perfect soundtrack of the music you used to listen to together. These are perfectly curated experiences, performed by your DA, using specialized experience companies/algorithms. The purpose of these APIs is to always have the perfect song, or the perfect view, or the perfect whatever, for that situation.

Omniscient Defender

  • You’ll be notified by your DA if anyone in your family is in a dangerous situation that falls above a certain threshold.

  • You’ll be able to switch your visual point of view instantly to any camera you have access to, whether that’s inside your house, through the eyes of someone you’re sharing access with, drones hovering over your house, etc.

  • You and your loved ones’ DAs will be scanning the environment for situations that seem dangerous. More specifically, they’ll be streaming live footage to their preferred company/algorithm that specializes in assigning danger ratings to environments.

  • Your DA will stream surrounding conversations to a company/algorithm to alert you of anything that could be dangerous to you.

  • Your entire ecosystem becomes eyes, ears, and noses for your DA to monitor your family and possessions 24/7.

  • Your DA will let you know when you are being monitored, when you should disable your daemon, take other countermeasures, etc.

  • Your DA will let you know when you’re doing something that could be controversial, and give you the capture points that it could be pulled from. It will be constantly monitoring ways you could be monitored and make sure that you’re not causing harm to your reputation.

Human Enhancement

  • As you move into new areas your DA will query and load up various views of different objects you might look at. So you could look at a building and see the people inside as heat signatures, or you might see the schematics of a building from a distance, all as AR overlays.

  • With a gesture or a voice command you will simply enable X-Ray vision, or heat signature, and then see the world through that perspective. Things that were pre-loaded will show quickly, others will take time, and others will not show at all because there’s no data for them. But over time, and with enough daemon access, we’ll be able to see much of the world in this way.

  • The same will apply to hearing, with the ability to focus on someone across a parking lot and hear what they’re saying. You’ll be able to gesture, target, or do some other aesthetically appealing way to initiate and visualize the effect. When it kicks in you’ll hear the person talking as if they’re speaking in your ear.

  • You’ll be able to zoom into things visually as well, and things you can do this with will be subtly indicated within your AR interface, perhaps with a tiny telescope in the top right corner. For any of those items you can make a gesture and zoom in and out using whatever nearby cameras that exist (that you have access to).

Businesses as Daemons

  • Play the perfect song for this moment.

  • Find the perfect gift for this person.

  • Write the perfect letter for this situation.

  • Create the perfect song for this situation.

  • Give me the best path from A to Z given this cargo and time of travel.

  • Display this content to me in the way that will help me make the best decisions in the least amount of time.

  • What should I watch right now?

  • When I look at the cover of a book, give me a perfect summary that fills the cover, along with the rating.

  • What should I listen to?

  • Why am I not happy?

  • If I redesigned my living room, what are the top best options?

  • What do I waste the most time on in my life?

  • Surprise me with an interesting music choice that I’ll love but never would have picked myself.

  • Remind me when there’s someone I care about that I haven’t told how much I love them.

  • Show me how much danger I am in at any given moment.

  • Show me the local crime statistics for the area I’m in.

  • Spend up to 5,000 to automatically deploy local defenders if anyone in my family gets in danger.

  • Only show me menu items that I should eat as part of my new health plan.

  • Build me a perfect daily routine based on my life goals.

  • Find the perfect girl for me.

  • What comic series would I like?

  • I’m new to Sushi, what should I try on this menu?

  • I just got this text, how should I respond?

  • I need to impress this person I just met; build me a weekend spending no more than 1,000 that they’ll love.

  • Who’s hurting the most within 1 mile, and what can I do for them?

The Future of Work

  • Jason is rated highly in many local and global skills, and he sits relaxing at his favorite coffee shop. He’s asked his DA to only bother him with incoming job requests if they pay over a certain amount. Because of his high ratings in these skills, he often gets fiction editing requests, requests to help move things, cat-sitting, legal contract review, and empathic listening. When a job passes the threshold, his DA (named Timmothy), will break in quietly in his earpiece. “Legal contract review, 37 pages, due by tomorrow morning, are we interested?” Jason nods his head and the details are worked out between DAs transparently.

  • Nadia sits at her favorite co-working location watching incoming job requests scroll by her AR display. She’s a coder so she’s watching the logos for various languages scroll by, with the size of the icon representing the payment for the project. She also gets lots of requests for helping people with programming, which she sometimes takes just to be nice, since they don’t pay much. She sees a big project in her favorite language scroll by and tells her DA (Vira), “I’ll take that one.”

  • Companies will specialize in finding better matches of job seeker and job taker based on hidden truths they extract using their proprietary algorithms.

  • You’ll be able to simply say, “Find me someone to help me move this pile of rocks,” or, “Find me the best person to edit this photo.” Your DA will contact multiple companies/algorithms to find the best fit for you (if it doesn’t know already) and that company will connect you with the best service or person.

  • You’ll be able to specify that you prefer local, that you prefer in person, that you prefer best in the world, that you prefer cheap, etc. And the algorithms your DA uses will take this into account.

The Four Components of Information Infrastructure

  • There will be countless companies competing to provide various parts of the sensor, daemon, transfer, algorithm, and interface infrastructure. They will be modular in nature so that one company’s sensors can interface cleanly with another company’s daemon technology.

  • Each piece is a bottleneck to the entire system, so realtime data for increasingly large systems (consisting of billions and trillions of nodes) will become possible as the minimum capacity component in the infrastructure is upgraded at any given time.

Getting Better at Getting Better

  • Machine learning and evolutionary algorithms will be used to improve each other, accelerating the pace at which both can improve.

  • As algorithms start replacing humans, the pace of improvement will only increase; shown by algorithms getting better at handling customer service issues, driving, obtaining knowledge, etc. The advantages of these gains can be almost instantly transferred and applied elsewhere in the industry.

Desired Outcome Management

  • Algorithms will be pointed to realtime datasets that are continuously updated, and the algorithms will continue to optimize themselves as they consume more data.

  • Philosophy will become far more interesting because once the data infrastructure is more standardized and modular, the value from data, statistics, and machine learning will increasingly hinge upon asking the right questions. The right questions, in turn, will hinge upon our goals and will unfortunately require philosophers to figure out (and articulate) what those should be.

Peer-to-peer Value Exchange

  • Eventually people will build communities that are functionally, emotionally, and economically tied to each other through mutual dependence and support. Value exchange, providing of services, infrastructure mechanisms, etc.—will all be handled internally to a significant degree in order to return to a sense of community.

  • Fewer services (but still many) will require centralized, institutionalized resources, as the peer structure will eventually be robust enough to handle most needs. Exceptions to this norm will be in the areas where it makes sense, construction and emergency vehicles for example, to have a permanent staff available at all times.

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